Come Valentine’s Day, it would seem that one edible aphrodisiac is on the mind and one only; Chocolate. While I may have my own chocolate-covered plans as well, it’s a crying shame that vegetables are barely even considered when it comes time for a seductive or romantic dinner. Light, fresh, and invigorating foods should be what’s on the menu, and what could fit the bill better than those much-maligned vegetables? Thank goodness for Vegetable Love 2009, which asks everyone to think of sexy veggie recipes for the holiday.
For an occasion such as this, I tend to think that simplicity should reign, lest that complicated unchicken cordon bleu ends up burning in the oven while you’re busy fussing over the already over-reduced pan sauce you’re making on the stove. Nope, I’ll stick with something fool-proof and guaranteed to satisfy, thank you very much!
Roasted red pepper soup is certainly nothing extraordinary in and of itself, but with a simple garnish of “sour cream” hearts, this unassuming starter is sure to kick of your meal on the right foot. Flavorful without being heavy or cloying like many pureed soups can be, this one definitely won’t weigh you down.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
2 Large Red Bell Peppers
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Medium Onion
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Bay Leaf
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and place your peppers on a baking pan lined with a sheet of aluminum. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, smash your cloves of garlic and roughly chop the onion. Move them into a medium saucepan, and add in the broth and bay leaf. Set over medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Once the outsides of the peppers are nicely charred, pull them out of the oven and crimp another sheet of aluminum on top to form a nice little package. Let it rest for 10 minutes to steam. Peel the skin off and remove the seeds and membrane. Transfer the cleaned peppers into your blender or food processor. Remove the bay leaf from the broth, and pour the contents of the saucepan, along with the vinegar. Thoroughly puree until completely smooth, and add salt and pepper to taste.
To make the hearts, just mix together 2 tablespoons of vegan “sour cream” and 1 teaspoon of plain soymilk until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a small piping bag or squeeze bottle. Squeeze two small dots right next to each other onto the surface of the soup, and then drag a toothpick right down the center, between them. Wipe off the toothpick between hearts to keep it clean and separate. Enjoy with someone you love!
Makes enough for two appetizer portions.